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Civil war is a common form of intrastate conflict which is often closely associated to ethnic conflict However all ethnic conflicts do not become civil wars What are the main ethnicity factors that can explain the escalation of an ethnic conflict to an ethnic civil war This paper will discuss the hypothesis that the escalation to civil war is mainly caused by the opposition between ethnic groups in order to attain hegemony as well as the reciprocal security concerns whereby groups perceive each other as a threat to their own survival The former factor set the conditions for the creation of the latter This hypothesis is based on the assumption that ethnic conflicts create weak states This hypothesis can be supported by establishing the distinction between ethnic conflict and ethnic civil war and describing the concepts of opposition to attain hegemony and reciprocal security concerns Finally counter-arguments to ethnicity as the main cause of escalation to civil war will be exploredAn ethnic conflict and an ethnic civil war are two different concepts as an ethnic conflict is not necessarily violent while a civil war always is An ethnic conflict is described by Michael E Brown as a disagreement between two or more ethnic groups which is unavoidable and happens regularly in heterogeneous societies A civil war is generally defined as a less common occurrence in which at least one thousand people are killed confronting groups are organized and the conflict takes place for a period longer than a few days Comparatively an ethnic civil war takes place when these conditions are in place while the fighting groups are organized according to their ethnicity and characterized by a strong group identity Consequently an ethnic conflict not necessarily violent at the beginning can escalate Once the above criteria are met the conflict is considered an ethnic civil war The opposition among ethnic groups to attain hegemony can lead to the escalation of an ethnic conflict to an
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